Between now and the last shofar blow of the holiday of Yom Kippur, Jews are supposed to sit down, flip out their cell phones or little black books to call, write, or otherwise contact those they have wronged to ask forgiveness. These days are officially called the “Ten Days of Penitence.”
Then, when you’re sitting in shul next Sunday night and Monday, your mind will be clear and peaceful, and you can open your soul to ask forgiveness from God.
Sound difficult? Oh yeah. Need advice? We thought so. To help you say “I’m sorry,” TC Jewfolk presents our five favorite famous apologies, and the Yom Kippur lessons they teach.
Former President Bill Clinton (apologizing for having sex with Monica Lewinsky):
I’ve tried to do a good job taking care of this country, even when I haven’t taken such good care of myself and my family and my obligations. I hope that you and others I have injured will forgive me for the mistakes I’ve made, but the most important thing is you must not let it deter you from meeting your responsibilities as citizens.
Lesson Learned: Find a way to incorporate “the country” into your apologies. Make the apology bigger than you. It is likely to be more successful.
New York Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) (apologizing for using steroids):
When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day. And I did take a banned substance and, you know, for that I’m very sorry and deeply regretful. And although it was the culture back then and Major League Baseball overall was very – I just feel that – you know, I’m just sorry. I’m sorry for that time. I’m sorry to fans.
Lesson Learned: Say sorry, but then blame your culture, or the culture you live in. We’ll pardon you, and then blame everyone else.
Hollywood Actor Mel Gibson (apologizing for being an anti-Semite):
There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.
Lesson Learned: Don’t insult the Jews. Especially if you work in Hollywood.
Rapper Kanye West (apologizing on his blog for upstaging Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards by grabbing the microphone and saying Beyonce should have won the award):
I’M SOO SORRY TO TAYLOR SWIFT AND HER FANS AND HER MOM. I SPOKE TO HER MOTHER RIGHT AFTER AND SHE SAID THE SAME THING MY MOTHER WOULD’VE SAID. SHE IS VERY TALENTED!
Lesson Learned: Don’t apologize on your blog and then delete the language. Or use all-caps. But good idea to call mom to apologize too. Any mom.
Actor and Filmmaker Michael Moore (apologizing for his characterizations of former President George W. Bush):
I would like to apologize for referring to George W. Bush as a deserter. What I meant to say is that George W. Bush is a deserter, an election thief, a drunk driver, a WMD liar, and a functional illiterate. And he poops his pants.
Lesson Learned: Use humor. And even when you apologize, always, always tell the truth.